The Thai envoy in Beijing is keen on restoring Thailand's good image among Chinese people while reiterating the Thai government must improve the quality of Thai products as another way to boost Thailand's reputation in China.
Benjamin Sukanjanajtee, the charge d'affaires of the Royal Thai Embassy in Beijing, told the Bangkok Post that Thailand can still regain trust and improve its image among Chinese people.
This comes after several incidents that tainted its image such as the death of a Chinese tourist in the Siam Paragon shooting in October, and the Chinese crime thriller No More Bets, which tells a story about Chinese people being trafficked to an overseas country, which many assume is Thailand.
Mr Benjamin said the embassy has tried to forge alliances to help improve the country's image such as working with local Chinese influencers and Thai students in China to promote the positive side of Thailand. Additionally, the embassy has also contacted tour agencies to persuade Chinese tourists to visit Thailand.
"We also use short video clips on Thailand tourism, food and culture and have festivals and events to help promote Thailand's positive side," he added.
When asked if the government's visa exemption scheme for Chinese nationals had in fact led to more opportunities for Chinese people to commit crimes in the kingdom, he said officials had worked together to suppress cross-border crimes, including online scams.
Nevertheless, he believes the visa exemption will help promote Thailand tourism in the long run.
"However, we need to understand that we have just gone through the Covid-19 pandemic. China has economic problems caused by the pandemic as well. When people have less money, they decide to travel in their own country or neighbouring countries.
"According to surveys we conducted, Thailand is still the first tourist destination for them. So, the visa exemption policy may take some time to succeed but it will help to promote our tourism in the long run," he added.
He also pointed out that Thai exports are popular with Chinese such as handicrafts and fresh fruits. The embassy has worked hard to promote such exports.
"We are trying to improve our image affected by several incidents, as well as rebuilding our reputation. It is not one person's role but rather the collective work of all. So, I do want us to focus more on Thai products," he said.
Benjamin: Focus on Thai exports